Are you an undocumented immigrant who has an overwhelming fear of getting caught and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents every time you go to work? If ICE agents find you there and find out that you do not have work authorization or there is anything fishy about your immigration records, there will be nothing you can do to avoid deportation.
“In California, raids conducted by immigration agents on workplaces are not unheard of,” says our Los Angeles employment law attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers.
What many undocumented workers in California do not realize is that more often than not, ICE agents who show up in workplaces do not have permission to talk to employees or even enter the worksite without a proper warrant. In fact, a law-abiding employer in California must not allow ICE agents to conduct raids on their workplaces without a proper warrant.
New California law limiting ICE’s raids on workplaces
Our employment law attorney in Los Angeles explains that ICE is legally required to comply with notice obligations when it comes to conducting raids on the workplace with the goal to find undocumented workers.
Do note, however, that being hostile or aggressive toward ICE agents will only make things worse, as they are looking for ways to enter the premises of your workplace if you provoke them. It is highly advised to stay calm when preventing ICE agents from entering the workplace.
If ICE conducts a raid on your workplace, it is recommended to contact an experienced employment law attorney immediately to get a legal consultation and ensure that your actions are in accordance with the new state law. Starting from Jan. 1, 2018, employees in California are protected from immigration agencies while on the job. These protections apply to all workplaces, regardless of the industry, size, and number of employees.
When immigration agents can be allowed to access the workplace and employee records
Under California law, both ICE agents and employers must comply with notice obligations and strict rules restricting immigration agencies’ access to the workplace and company records.
Your employer in California is not allowed to let ICE agents enter the worksite and nonpublic work areas or get access to employee records without a proper warrant. According to the new notice obligations, immigration agencies must show legal documents in the form of a judicial warrant or subpoena issued by a court (rather than issued by ICE). Only then the immigration agents can be allowed access.
In most situations, ICE agents show a Notice of Inspection, which, contrary to the popular belief, does not grant ICE the authority to access the workplace or employee records. While the Notice of Inspection might sound intimidating, all it does is provide notice to the employer and give him or her 72 hours to respond and produce the Forms I-9 and other company records. These records include payroll records, a list of current employees, and articles of incorporation, among other things.
In fact, in the event of receiving a Notice of Inspection, employers are legally required to post a notice to all current employees warning them of the immigration inspections of the workplace and/or employee records.
After the inspection, California employers have three days to provide each “affected employee” a copy of the results of the inspection as well as a list of the employer or employee’s obligations in this particular situation. An affected employee is a worker who has problems with or lack of work permits or other immigration-related documents or permits.
If your employer has violated the new strict rules regarding immigration-related inspections and raids in the workplace, he or she may be facing a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. Get a free consultation from our Los Angeles employment law attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers. Call our offices at 310-527-6994 or fill out this contact form.